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Rules approved for boats at Tiber and Canyon Ferry


Last updated 3/24/2017 at 12:30pm

Staff and Wire report

Montana’s Fish and Wildlife Commission approved new rules for boaters at Canyon Ferry and Tiber reservoirs.

“This will ensure that watercraft not in the local boater program will depart from the reservoirs at points where inspection and decontamination stations are located,” said Eileen Ryce, chief of Fisheries for Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The rules are part of Montana’s response to the discovery of invasive mussel larvae last fall in Tiber Reservoir and a suspected sample from Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

Approved Tuesday during a special teleconference, the rules require boaters to launch and exit Tiber and Canyon Ferry reservoirs at designated boat ramps, unless they are officially certified as local boaters by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

The local boater program will allow watercraft owners to complete educational training on aquatic invasive species and sign an agreement with FWP pledging to only use the boat at either Tiber or Canyon Ferry reservoir.

Local boaters would not be required to decontaminate their boat each time they leave Tiber or Canyon Ferry but they still must stop at inspection stations where they will be expedited through after a brief interview.

If a certified local boater wants to use the watercraft at another waterbody, the boat owner would be required to get the watercraft decontaminated.

Local boater training and certification will be available online beginning in mid-April. People also can be certified by attending one of the Joint Mussel Response Team’s open houses that will focus on the effort to contain, detect and prevent the spread of invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species.

The first open house is set for Monday at Montana WILD in Helena from 7 to 9 p.m. A Joint Mussel Response Team presentation will begin at 7:30 p.m. Local boaters can be certified after the presentation. Space is limited to about 80 people at Montana WILD so preregistering for the event is required. People can call 406-444-2535 to register.

Another open house will be held in Townsend April 4 in the Broadwater School and Community Library. Additional open-house events will be announced when dates and locations are secured.

Containing the risk of spreading mussels from the reservoirs to other areas is a key component of the Joint Mussel Response Team’s implementation plan. When boaters transport water in their boats they can spread destructive mussel that are so small at the larvae stage they can only be seen under a microscope.

To combat the spread of all aquatic invasive species, Montana officials urge boaters and anglers to Clean, Drain, Dry their watercraft, trailers and equipment when they leave the water as a guarantee that they are not spreading invasive mussels. A cleaned, drained and dry boat also will make for a quick inspection.


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